In a post last week I mentioned that I’d had difficulty getting hold on my HRT. I’d been aware of issues from forums and groups that I belong to but it hadn’t been a problem for me. Research shows that in the past six months, over 84% of pharmacies had trouble getting hold of HRT prescriptions. If I hadn’t have experienced it myself I wouldn’t believe it.
When I received my new prescription I went to my local pharmacy and was told that Zumenon 1mg was out of stock. I asked the pharmacy if there was an alternative in stock that I could ask my GP for, and I was told that it was up to the GP to decide on an alternative and it was not the pharmacist’s job. I spent the next hour ringing pharmacies in my local area, twelve pharmacies later and I was still no closer to getting my HRT.
I walked back to my GP surgery and told them what had happened and asked what I should do. After a 40 minute wait I was told that I would be prescribed Elleste Solo 1mg so while I was waiting for the GP to sign the prescription, I should call around the pharmacies to see if it was in stock.
I tried five pharmacies without any success, when the receptionist came out and handed me a prescription for Elleste Solo 2mg (but to take half per day). Fortunately one of the pharmacies I had tried earlier had said that they had no 1mg tablets but did have 2mg so I didn’t have to call anymore pharmacies. Three hours, seventeen phone calls and three prescriptions later I headed to a pharmacy on the other side of town to collect my HRT.
I worked as a nurse for a long time and I remember occasional shortages of medications, but never anything on this scale. What I found the most frustrating thing was that no-one seemed to care or be able to offer solutions. I am so aware that I am fortunate enough to be able to deal with this myself but even then, I was still getting upset and worried that I wouldn’t be able to get my HRT.
I am confident and educated enough to advocate for myself with regard to my own health. I am fit, healthy and have a car so I can get myself to any pharmacy. I am financially able to drive to pharmacies, I can afford a phone with unlimited calls. I was able to take the time out my schedule to do all this. I can’t imagine having to cope with this if I suffered from anxiety or other health issues as many menopausal women do.
Last week the Government announced that they had put a ban on the export of certain drugs and medication to ensure that there was enough for the UK population. I hope this helps the situation. Please let me know if you’ve suffered or been inconvenienced by lack of HRT. It would be interesting to read how you’ve dealt with the situation.